Tag Archives: Soap Making

Rays of Sunlight – March 2017

The past few weeks have been rather rough. My depression and anxiety symptoms have been rather bad. Though it’s mostly related to my psychiatric re-assessment and the plan to move out of the institution by May 1, these are not situations I can change. I also find it particularly hard to change my thoughts about them. All I can do is try to focus on the little things I do enjoy. Yesterday, I discovered the Liked and Loved linky. It is a beautiful way for people to share what they’ve liked and loved in the past month. Most people post about products. I will mention some of these too, but will also share the experiences that I’ve liked and loved. I therefore title this post “Rays of sunlight”.

I Love Myself Box

I Love Myself Box

First, a product – or several. In early February, I ordered a box called the I Love Myself box at a little Dutch skincare store. It isn’t a monthly subscription box, but the surprise effect is similar. When you order it, you get a questionnaire that allows the store owner to get an idea of what products might suit you. You then get a personalized surprise box of skin care, makeup, bath and related products. My box is lovely, though I haven’t yet tried out every product. I got a lip gloss with a lovely scent, a box of tiny wax melts (oh, how I love those!), some facial care products, a hand cream and a bath bomb. I will need to bathe soon, as we don’t have a tub at home.

Pizza

My husband has been calling Saturdays “Pizzaturdays” and getting me pizza almost every week. In addition, a few weeks ago the staff at my unit got takeout pizza for those who wanted it and could afford it. There’s this pizza restaurant in the next town that I used to order a very spicey salami pizza from. The more I ate it, the more I disliked it and I couldn’t figure out why, since I thought I loved all ingredients. As it turned out though, there was anchovy on the pizza, which made it very salty. This time when the staff ordered from that restaurant, I decided to go for a regular salami pizza.

Soap Making

For the first time in a few months, I made a melt and pour soap again a few weeks ago. I based it on this recipe, though I used regular white soap base rather than honey soap base and I skipped the bee pollen. I do have honey soap base too, but the staff member I made it for wanted me to use a white soap base and I couldn’t find my goat’s milk soap base. I also mixed in some gold-colored mica, which gave the soap a creamy color. I do know hwo to make real gold-colored surfaces, but the staff didn’t want me to do this. I loved the process, though the soap didn’t turn out as great as I’d hoped. That’s why I don’t have a picture.

Learning to Use an iPhone

I finally had my first trial lesson with an iPhone three weeks ago. Blind people often need to have special instruction in using a smartphone, especially if like me they have no previous experience with it. The iPhone is more accessible than are Android phones, which is why I’m learning to use that. I managed the tapping and swiping movements surprisingly well. I will take one more trial lesson before I buy myself an iPhone and will start formal training.

An Evening at My In-Laws

Yesterday, I was home for a day. It went okay, but not great. Because my husband wasn’t sure he’d be home in time for dinner, he asked his mother if I could eat there. My mother-in-law picked me up at around 5PM and we drank some coffee and then had dinner. It was nice. My in-laws have four horses. After dinner, my mother-in-law asked me whether I wanted to pet one of the horses. She led me to a horse named Bink, who loves to be petted on the neck. I have some experience doing day activities with horses, but those were tiny ponies and this is a large horse. I was excited and a little scared at once.

Sunny Weather

The last two weeks have been great weather-wise. I have been doing lots of walking and sitting outside. Haven’t yet been in our garden at home, because yesterday I was afraid our cat would get outside and manage to get onto some roof. My husband and I did take a little tandem bike ride last week, which was fun.

What have you been enjoying lately?

A Cornish Mum

My Achievements in 2016

The year 2016 is almost over and I feel pretty disappointed. It should’ve been the year in which I finally left the mental institution, but I didn’t. I mean, I’ve been resolving to leave the hospital every single year since 2008, but this time I thought I was so close. It’s even worse, because I get blamed for not having achieved this goal. My psychologist tells me I never want to leave and that I try every single trick to delay my discharge. This to her proves my dependent personalty disorder. Well, it wasn’t me who took four months to come up with that diagnosis. It wasn’t me who still hasn’t referred me to outpatient treatment and it wasn’t because for whatever reason I blocked this – I didn’t.

In many other ways, this year has been a disappointment. Still, I need to focus on the things that I did achieve in 2016. They may not feel important to me at this point, but that is only a matter of perspective.

1. I have not been in seclusion all year. I tend to think that, because I’m supposed to leave and there’s no seclusion outside of the institution, staff are less likely to ask me to go into seclusion. There is likely some truth to this, but I also have been acting out much less over the past year than I used to. It isn’t over yet – I broke a mug and self-injured only a few days ago. It’s better though.

2. My daily medication has been stable all year. I did finally get a prescription for a benzodiazepine to use at most twice a week as-needed. I hardly need it though.

3. I managed to binge eat less than I did last year. Though I resolved to get my BMI under 30 and this was a massive fail, my weight remained stable over the year.

4. We got an elliptical trainer at home. Though I didn’t use it as regularly as I’d have liked, I enjoyed exercsing when I did.

5. I found a craft that I enjoy. This is one of my biggest wins of 2016. Though I don’t make soap or skin care products as regularly as I intended to anymore, half a year in I still enjoy the craft. I also finally felt confident enough to make soaps and skin care products for other people. I never quite felt as self-confident about my other crafts. Recently, I experienced some setbacks, in that a few soaps I made over the past few weeks turned out worse than even my first soaps. However, I’m not about to give up (yet).

6. I didn’t give up blogging, even though I was tempted. I kept up one Dutch blog from early June until now, although December was a bad month. Consistent with more posts here, as always, my posting on there declined. I’m not about to give up eithehr blog though.

In short, my theme for 2016 has been “persevere”. I faced many setbacks and disappointments, but I didn’t give up. I hope that 2017 will be better than 2016, but if it isn’t, I hope I will keep on persevering.

You Baby Me Mummy

Currently – October 2016

Oh yeah, another week and a half have passed without me blogging. Originally, I was planning on participating in #Write31Days this month again, but I couldn’t think of a topic. Then when I had something in mind, I couldn’t get myself to write my first posts, because I was sick and tired all week-end after my sister’s wedding on Friday. So no pressure this month once again. Because it’s already late in the evening and I badly want to publish a post before midnight though, I thought I’d do “Currently” once again. This month’s co-host is Jacqui and our usual host is Anne.

Cheers-ing

I don’t drink alcohol, but I would like to give a big cheers to my sister and her husband for their wedding last Friday. They had their wedding ceremony on the beach. Though it was so windy I couldn’t hear my sister say her vows, it was a beautiful ceremony.

Organizing

My soaping supplies. I have tried to resist the urge to buy more supplies, because I still don’t know whether I’ll be able to soap at day activities once I leave the institution. However, since i still don’t know when I will be leaving the institution, I’ve also thought that I might as well enjoy the craft while I still can. My wheeled bag is so full it won’t close properly now and some plastic bags were tearing, so I had to re-organize my supplies. I originaly planned on keeping some out of the bag unless I’d need them, but I have no clue where else to store them.

Dreaming

Way too vividly, if you mean dreaming while asleep. I have always had vivid dreams and they got much more vivid since starting my antipsychotic in 2010. Though the dose of this medication has been the same for several years, my vivid dreams are getting worse. Yes, I say worse, because it’s no fun.

As for daydreaming, I don’t do that much lately. So much is still unclear that I have little to look forward to except for the very next moment. You see, I’m practising staying present and enjoying the moment more. So far, I’m not very good at it.

Buying

Soaping supplies like I said. I also bought some new clothes for my sister’s wedding, as well as some body care products.

Listening

I recently discovered some new-to-me country musicians that I like. I’m also listening to a lot of audio lectures from a company called Home Academy. I used to listen to the ones I’d bought or gotten as gifts many years ago. Recently, they were added to the library for the blind’s collection, so I can now listen to them virtually for free, sine the membership fee is way less than what I used to pay for individual magazines and lectures and suchlike. The lecture I most recently finished was on the atomic bomb. It had me vividly dreaming about mushroom clouds for days.

What have you been up to lately?

Currently – September 2016

Wow, summer flew by! Even though the weather is quite summerlike, unlike in July and most of August, it’s already September. I have several posts I would still like to write, but I am rather unmotivated for blogging here lately. It could be because my Dutch blog is three months old and it looks like this is going to be a keeper. I do like to write there, although I don’t write nearly as often as I used to write here. Anyway, because I’m not motivated for a proper blog post, I’d like to write a “Currently” post once again. Currently is hosted this time by Beth and of course Anne.

Reading

I’ve been reading a lot of books and not finishing any lately. I still didn’t finish Handle with Care by Jodi Picoult, which I started in June. I also started Still Alice by Lisa Genova then, but have been leaving that for so long that I recently started over.

A few days ago, I bought Do No Harm by Herny Marsh. It’s a book of stories from a neurosurgeon. There doesn’t seem to be anything about hydrocephalus or pediatric surgery in general in it. Still, it’s quite interesting.

Trying

Lotion making. I didn’t do much in the way of soap making lately, but on Tuesday, I tried once again to make a body lotion. It failed again, this time for completely different reasons than the last time (I guess that means I’m learning!). The whole lotion making thing sounds a bit more complicated than I initially thought it would be. However, as I watched a video tutorial on it that was recommended to me by some Dutch lotion makers yesterday, I was reassured that it also probably isn’t as complicated as some other people make it sound. For example, I forgot the heat and hold phase, which means you need to heat your oil and water phases separately to 70 degrees Celsius and keep them at that temperature for twenty minutes. Well, that doesn’t seem to need to be dome as precisely. We’ll see next time.

Hoping

To be more motivated and inspired to get things done. Like finishing those books I started, making soap and blogging. I now spend most of my time on Facebook or in bed. Would really like to get more productve.

Decorating

Nothing really. The last decorative soap I made was already two weeks ago. I have another one planned, but need to get the motivaiton to actually go about it.

To-Do Listing

I don’t have much on my to-do list at this moment, except for the things I already mentioned I’m hoping to accomplish. On Monday, I did finally cross off the routine medical exam I’d been delaying for months.

What are you currently up to?

Upbeat #WotW

Another more than a week has gone by. This week was pretty intense. I have been in a relatively good mood most of the time. Also, I made some good progress within the last few days. For this week, I am participating in Word of the Week again and my word is “upbeat”.

Monday started out not too great. I had a conflict with one of my activity staff. In the morning, I had been busy with quite a difficult soap making project and had asked for help a little too many times. My activity staff had, or so she said, been attending to me constantly. She didn’t say so till the end of the morning and said that I couldn’t make soap in the afternoon, because she’d be the only staff in attendance. I was pissed and had an anger outburst. After I calmed down a bit the nurses asked what was up. I told them and a nurse accompanied me to the activity room after lunch to talk to the activity staff. Both of us had been overreacting a bit it turned out and she had been offering help sometmes when it wasn’t needed. In the afternoon, I made an easier-to-make soap and did it mostly independently. On Tuesday and Wednesday I also made soap and had a lot of fun doing so.

On Thursday, I would be leaving for home in the afternoon. I had gotten a letter from the local social consultation team and had handed it to my social worker. I had some trouble scheduling an appointment with her, but eventually, we worked something out. Turned out the letter wasn’t anything we needed to do anything about.

Early in the afternoon, I got a call from my independent consumer advocate telling me that he had made an appointment for me to go take a look at a day activity place next Tuesday. The place had been mentioned during the kitchen table talk with the social consultant and independent consumer advocate, but I had apparently erroneously thought that my town didn’t have a contract with this organization. I will visit the place on Tuesday at 11AM. Depending on how I like that place, we may take a look at another place that’s part of the same organization later on.

The consumer advocate also told me that the social consultant would be calling me about an appointment with the mental health agency for home support services. She called me while I was in the cab on my way home. I will have a meeting with the mental health agency’s home support person on Wednesday at 9AM. My consumer advocate will also be attending that meeting with me. If this and the day activity thing go well, the social consultant is hoping to proceed with getting things arranged that same week, because she will be on maternity leave after that. For those who don’t know, a social consultant is a local civil service person who makes decisions about funding for community care. Because I am now institutionalized and will be going home, a new decision regardng funding will need to be made. Of course, I don’t expect things to move that fast and the social consultant can of course hand over my case to a colleague. Ttill I’m hoping they’ll reach a decision about funding for home care and day activities within a few weeks. That will make it much easier for me to prepare for actual discharge out of the institution.

I went home Thursday evening. On Friday, my husband had to be at work by 6AM, so the alarm clock went off at 4:20. I slept some more but, once my husband was off to work, I could hardly sleep any longer. I had somewhat of a difficult morning, but practising mindfulness helped me get through it. I was upbeat in the afternoon, when a Facebook friend who also makes soap came by. I had met her specifically through soap making, but we also had some fun chatting. We made a lip balm, sugar scrub and goat’s milk melt and pour soap with honey.

Today, I’m tired but still upbeat. The nurses made us fresh macaroni. That’s one of my ward’s summer traditions. I must honestly say my husban’ds macaroni is better, but then again this macaroni is much, much better than the lame excuse for food we get everyday.

Like I said, except for Monday, I’ve been feelign mostly upbeat this week. I am still loving my soaping craft and an looking forward to the progress we’ll make next week.

The Reading Residence

If Social Media Dies, Make Soap

Gosh, over a week has passed and I didn’t write. It’s not because I didn’t feel inspired as much. After all, July is National Journal Writing MOnth. So are January, April and October, but I hadn’t heard about NaJoWriMo until late April. This month, I’ve had a prompt delivered to my inbox everyday, but I didn’t feel like writing. The reason is that I am in the midst of a new perseveration. Yeah, you guessed it right, I’ve jumped head first into the soap making craft. On Mama’s Losin’ It, one of the writing prompts this week asks what hobby you’d pick up if social media died tomorrow. This is what I’d do.

I have been making various different kinds of soaps. I do melt and pour soaping, so of course I didn’t technically make the soap myself, but I have tried various kinds of soap for the craft. So far, I like the cheapest kind best, but that supplier takes three to six business days to deliver and I’d run out of soap last Friday. That, plus the SLES that’s in that soap, made me decide to get all-natural soap at another store. I especially don’t like this soap’s pre-melted texture, but once melted, it’s easy to work with. The vendor warned that it may not be the best soap to work with layers with, but I made a layered soap that turned out quite good. One of the colors is supposed to be gold but it turned out yellowish white because I hadn’t shaken up the colorant enough before use. I will look into how to get it to look better.

Layered Soap

I have also tried my hand at body lotion making. The instructions I posted last week, weren’t correct. I made body lotions using a recipe I found online and almost everything went wrong that could’ve gone wrong. Like, I didn’t know that I had to heat the water phase, so I didn’t do this. This meant no or little emusification. The site I got the recipe from is also into all-natural stuff, so they probably deliberately skipped the preservative. Since I made a lotion out of mint tea, that meant it’d gone off within a day. I have decided not to spend any money on this hobby for a month, since I already spent way too much on it so far, so I cannot buy the preservative until then. No lotion making for a while then.

I do, however, greatly enjoy this craft. One of the good parts about it is, of course, sharing my work. I do this on Facebook, so if that died tomorrow, I might not enjoy it as much. Then again, if no-one used social media anymore because it died, maybe I’d connect with other soapers through other venues. Forums and E-mail lists aren’t social media, right?

Speaking of Facebook, however, I did connect with a woman who doesn’t live too far from the tiny village and who is willing to soap with me at home. She’ll first visit me next week. I don’t know whether I could make real connections with people if any online connection for social purposes died. After all, I met all my long-time acquaintances online as well as my husband.

That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t enjoy the soaping craft at all. Maybe there’d actually not be as much pressure if social media didn’t exist, because I wouldn’t know what great soaps other people make. I currently make the majority of my soaps for people I know in real life, too. They’re staff and fellow patients at my institution, so I do sometimes wonder whether I’ll still enjoy this craft when I just have my husband and our tiny circle of acquaintances. We’ll just have to see.

Mama’s Losin’ It

Currently – July 2016

I skipped the Currently linky, hosted by Anne and Jenna last month. This month, however, the words appealed to me, so I’m participating again.

Toasting

This word was what drew my attention to this moth’s post. One of the nurses was laid off in late June and she gave us patients a great toaster. The nurses already had one in the office, but we weren’t allowed to use it, because we had been bad at keeping ours clean, which had then broken down. Now, so far, we’re keeping the new toaster in good condition. I toasted a croque monsieur on it yesterday and it was delicious.

Going

For some walks. My new gravatar is a picture taken about three weeks ago when my husband and I walked along the water a few towns away from the tiny village we live in. Other than that, I’m not going anywhere much except for extending my week-ends on home leave. I am planning on starting ot stay home on Mondays by the 18th.

Smelling

Blue Soap

Vanilla, coconut and banana everywhere. These are the three fragrance oils that came with my soap making starter kit. I have truly contracted the soap making virus and have made so many soap hearts already I have almost lost count. Above is a picture of one of my best ones. People are now also asking for other scents, so I ordered three new fragrance oils that are due to arrive tomorrow: strawberry, cinnamon and violets. I also ordered a new mold.

Wearing

T-shirts that I’ve become too big for (or let’s just say that they’ve shrunk). I hate clothes shopping, so I tried to order some new T-shirts online, but the style I wanted was sold out.

Wishlisting

Way too many soap making supplies. I ordered many of the things I had on my wishlist already, but still want more. The store I ordered my starter kit at celebrates its eleventh anniversary today, so they’re offering discounts till Sunday. Of course, discounts don’t mean you won’t spend money.

I’m hoping my husband can also take me to a budget store, so I can look for storage boxes for my fragrance oils and colorants, empty lotion bottles, packaging and some other things.

Soap making aside, however, I badly want a new blender, since someone took apart my last one and neither I nor the nurses can fix it so it won’t leak.

What have you been up to lately?

Making Soap and Lotions

Yay, I’m 30! My birthday itself wasn’t too special. My husband had to work, so he came by to take me home on Monday evening. First, we stopped by the “electric kettle shop”, ie. the electronics store, to get me an electric kettle. We had one already, but you couldn’t take off the kettle so had to fill the whole thing while it’s in the power socket. I also didn’t like its size. My husband bought me a 0.8l kettle.

I loved the week-end before my birthday, however. My sister and her boyfriend came by on Saturday. They gave me a shower gel, shampoo and pure lanolin. Lanolin is used in creams and lotions as an emulsifier. They didn’t know when they bought these gifts that I plan on making my own body creams and lotions, so it was a wonderful coincidence.

Lanolin

The best gift I got for my birthday was however a gift I gave myself: a starter kit for making your own melt and pour soap. Melt and pour soap is made by cutting pure soap into small chucnks and melting them in the microwave or au bain-marie in a soap kettle or pan. I made my first soaps at day activities and we renamed one of the smaller pans the soap pan, because you’ll never get the soap taste out of it once you’ve used a pan for soaping. My art therapist, who also works at day activities but not that particular day, hoped it wasn’t the milk pan. I think it was.

Soap

Once the soap is melted, you pour it into a measuring cup and add colorant and scent. For my first soap, I used red colorant and coconut scent. You stir to make the colorant and scent blend with the soap. Then you pour the soap into a mold. I had a bit too little soap to fill the mold, so my first soap is a bit thin. I chose the heart shape to give to my husband. Now that I’ve made some other, more well-formed soaps, I’m getting queries from everyone asking me to make a soap for them. Most so far don’t want anything I haven’t tried yet, but one woman wants a pink one. That will be a challenge. I’ve already made a green one by mixing blue and yellow colorant, but am not too sure how I’ll make pink with just red, yellow and blue colorants. I don’t know what type of colorant is used in the starter kit, so I can’t buy new colorant and see whether they have a pink one yet.

I also just today bought myself some tools and materials for making lotions. You make a lotion by melting lanolin and a plant-based oil, such as sweet almond oil, making sure they’re well-blended. This is the oily component. Once it’s melted, you need to add the water component, which consists of distilled water, herbal tea or a hydrosol (floral water). You can also add aloe vera juice to the water component. You need to add the water component drop by drop while constantly stirring. Then, let the lotion cool off to at most 30 degrees Celsius before adding essetial oil or fragrance oil. My husband thougth that essential oils are skin irritants, because the packaging said so, and so you cannot add them to lotions even when diluted. I have yet to ask whether this is true in one of the safe essential oil use groups on Facebook, since I’m pretty sure that, if diluted to at max 3%, you should be safe.